DNR lifts ban on 50 Jackson wells, water still not safe for drinking

JACKSON --  Six weeks after a pipe line burst in rural Jackson, sending 22,000 gallons of fuel into the soil, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says 50 homeowners can once again use their wells for showers, laundry and dishes.

"It's still early in the clean up process.  Progress is being made," Marty Nessman, a hydrogeologist with the DNR said.

While Jackson residents are allowed to use water for cleaning, they still cannot drink it.

"They need to continue to use bottled water or water from a known safe source for drinking cooking and making ice," Nessman said.

West Shore Pipe Line, the company that owns the burst pipe, has been paying for residents' bottled water and hotel rooms.  The company says it will still offer hotel rooms through Tuesday, September 4th for those who have been unable to shower at home.

However, while the DNR's lifted ban includes most properties, it does not include all. John Fenton's property is one not affected by the lifted ban.

"You kinda just keep going the way you've been going, and it will be whatever it's going to be," Fenton said.

Fenton's house sits in what has been nick named "Ground Zero."  His property sits directly next to the leak.  West Shore Pipe Line has assisted in disconnecting his contaminated well and has brought in a mobile replacement, which the company pays to have a truck fill each day.

"What can you do?  You have the gas no matter what.  They've been nice about it," Fenton said.

Both West Shore Pipe Line Company and the DNR say it is too early to tell how long the clean up process will last.  A representative from West Shore is hopeful the DNR will be able to lift drinking bans in the next couple of weeks.

Related stories: